Del took Marge out to their favorite place to eat. He was tired, worn out from the week, but had news to celebrate, was bursting to tell Marge but had wanted to wait until dessert. Dessert was ordered; Marge was smiling at him.
Stranberger's was a family restaurant, run by the same family for close to fifty years. Good food, chatty waitresses, coffee almost as good as Cookie or Marge made. Glorious junk on the walls. 1950s toy guns and their holsters in one room. Blues posters in another, racing paraphernalia on the walls of the small bar — a sundae and milkshake kind of bar.
"You remember me talking about Spot?"
"The Colonel's dog? Yes, though I don't think I've ever met her."
"That's the one. Someone wanted to buy Spot; the Colonel let me make an offer. I'm buying her for forty-one thousand tomorrow."
She sat back, made room for her apple pie alamode. "That's a lot of money, Del."
He got the same, picked up his fork. "I know. It will put us behind maybe two years."
Marge nodded, swallowed. "It's your decision, Del. It's your plan and if you want to sidetrack it . . . Are you sure?"
Del pushed his pie aside and leaned toward her. "I can wait two years more. It won't be easy. Easier with Spot around. But I know it won't be easy."
Marge smiled at him. "What if I don't like her?"
Del pulled his plate back, cut a piece of pie and dipped it into the soft ice cream.
Del took his time chewing, swallowed. "Marge. I know this might be a way for the Colonel to keep me working with him."
"And I was thinking, maybe we should travel some. We've been saving up for years and maybe we should take a little of that money and enjoy ourselves."
"What if I don't like her?"
"I'll build a nice tall fence around the backyard. Her doghouse will be out there, she doesn't need to be inside at all."
"Except if the weather is cold. If she gets sick. Or if you are in the mood for puppy love."
"Spot won't get under foot."
"I'm not said much about what you do, Del."
"I appreciate that, Marge. It hasn't been easy for you."
"Do you realize that you have no idea how easy, or not, it has been?"
He finished his pie. "Want to go for a walk soon?"
She shook her head. "Let's go home."
Del drank his coffee, pushed the plate away, moved the cup and saucer before him. "I know it won't be easy having Spot around."
"How old is she?"
He shrugged. "Twenty-two? Her papers may tell. She doesn't talk."
"Just growl and woof."
He was going to add and wiggle her tail but thought maybe now wasn't the best time to mention tails. "Yip and whimper. She's not a loud dog."
He exhaled. "I don't know that either. She . . ."
"She'll be inside our house and you're not sure she's paper trained?"
"I know, I . . ."
"Just what does she do, Del?"
Fuck and suck. He probably shouldn't bring that up right now either. "She's companionable. I'll take her to work with me. She's fun to go on walks with. She's fun to just sit around with."
"How big of a doghouse were you planning to build? Big enough for the two of you?" Marge smiled at the waitress. "That was wonderful, dear."
He took out his wallet and left a tip, picked up the check and stood. "Sure you don't want to go for a walk?"
She joined him. "Well?"
He paid the check, took a couple of mints with his change. He held the truck door open for Marge, went around the truck and sat in the driver's seat. He started up the flathead six, gave the dashboard a pat, backed out of the space. "There are things about this I haven't thought out, Marge. I didn't know about it until this afternoon."
"What do we do when we have guests over?"
"I could leave her at the ranch."
"Where do we board her if we go on one of your little trips?"
"I've no idea, Marge. What do you think we should do?"
She was quiet for several minutes. She shifted in her seat, looked to her right out the window. "I know you screw them when you're at the ranch. I don't have to see that. I don't want to have to watch you screw this dog."
"I know that, Marge. If Spot doesn't work out, I'll sell her. Find a good home for her. I don't think the money will be wasted."
"Do you love her?"
He turned off the truck in the drive. "I love being with her. I never . . ."
Marge left the truck.
He followed her into the house. "Want a beer?"
He went into the living room with two beers, gave Marge one. He sat next to her on the couch. "Look, Marge. I sprung this on you and I'm sorry but it was sprung on me. I don't know the answer to many of the things you've asked me. Yes, I fuck my charges at work. There is usually not a lot of feeling involved in it. Sometimes there is but I don't wallow in it. I like Spot, enjoy being with her, think she's special. I never thought I would own her. I think maybe the Colonel is doing what he can so I'll stay with him longer. I don't plan on staying forever but I do enjoy what I do even if I don't like my job."
He touched her knee. "The Colonel wanted to know if you were going to bring your potato salad to the picnic."
Marge kicked off her shoes, drew her legs under her on the couch. She set her beer on the knee of her slacks. "The picnic is Wednesday? I'll give you a list tomorrow of things to get."
Del took a drink of beer.
"Del, do you ever think of what you are doing to those girls?"
He set the empty beer on the floor. "Tell me when you want another. Think of it how? Do I realize what I'm doing? Or do I worry about how others might look at what I'm doing?"
"You know what I mean, Del." She gave him a tight-lipped smile.
"Okay, Marge. We've had this discussion before. Am I evil? I don't think so. Am I sure? I'm not, so I spend some time, not a lot, but some time thinking about the problem of good and evil and me in the whole wide world."
"Not particularly evil. That doesn't mean I think I'm good. I try to be but I'm not most of the time."
"Are we gong to get back to Spot soon?"
"Eventually." Marge placed the beer bottle back on her knee.
"I do the best I can. What can I say? I know I'm making mistakes. I know that the world is not black and white and I know what I'm doing probably comes into the darker area of gray."
She winked at him, set her beer on the floor. "I'm ready."
"Back in a minute." He walked into the kitchen, left his boots by the back door and got two beers out of the refrigerator. He put several warm beers in to chill. "Want a snack or anything?"
"No, I'm all right."
He carried the beers to the couch, handed her one. "I do the best I can. Try to do better the next day."
"Anything you should tell me about work?"
"Sharon, the Colonel's girlfriend, has become a . . . I don't know what to call it. She's not sure what she is."
"Not on my part. She's not sure if she's a dog or a pony. That's one way to think of it. She may just be a way for the Colonel to divert me. Like Spot."
"One of the most beautiful women I've seen."
She turned away from him. "You realize you hurt me sometimes."
"Do you want me to tell the Colonel no, I don't want Spot after all?"
She shook her head, turned to him. "I can't control you, don't want to."
"I appreciate that."
"Appreciate this. How many of the ranch hands have wives? How many will be at the picnic?"
"One. You know that."
"Does that tell you something?"
"It should. So she's beautiful?"
"Yes." He leaned on the couch arm, watched her.
"Does the Colonel know?"
"We pissed on her together." He watched her face him, get off the couch and leave the room. "Well, that's that," he mumbled. He sat on the couch, shut his eyes and tried to remember how it had been in the Army. Too much like right now. He needed to take a piss. He stood, finished the beer, picked up the empties and carried them into the kitchen.
He turned out the light, left on the living room light and went into the bathroom. The mirror made him look more tired than he was. He pissed sitting down since he needed his hands to prop up his chin.
The bedroom light was off when he went in. Marge was under the covers. He turned off the hall light and joined her in bed. She didn't move.
"Look, Marge. I never know how much you want to know about what I do at work. We pissed on her. I wiped her off afterwards using her clothes, expensive stuff. Ralph Lauren. There's more you probably don't want to know. That's the day me. When I'm here, I don't do that stuff." He paused. "Somehow when I talk about it I sound like a gangster or something. I'm sorry."
"When you bring Spot here," Marge said facing away from him, "you'll be bringing your day stuff here."
"I hadn't thought about it that way."
"I know. I know you like Spot, want to keep her. If she's here I'll be watching you two . . . Understand?"
"I'm sorry, Marge. I never meant to hurt you."
"I know that too." She was quiet for a couple of minutes, said, "Turn on the light."
He sat up, turned on the light.
Marge sat up. "Okay, let's talk about Spot. Forty-one thousand dollars plus the fence plus the doghouse."
"Plus I'll need a carrier I can strap or bolt to the bed of the truck."
"There'll be more. Food."
"Dog food, canned and dry. I don't think she's too particular."
"That's it?" Marge gave a look at him. "Just dog food?"
"She likes people food but she shouldn't have too much as some people food upsets her stomach."
"Do you realize what you're saying?"
"Do you know what it is like to have someone like Sharon?"
"The beautiful one."
"Hell, most of them are beautiful. Do you know what it is like to have someone like her want me to do certain things you don't really want me to talk too much about to her or to treat her in certain ways, again ditto? Can you imagine?"
"Del, back to Spot."
"She's a dog in every way but one. She doesn't want to be a dog all she needs to do is get off her four paws, walk on two, and leave. That simple."
"So she's not forced . . ."
"We'll have to decide if we want to chain her up or put her in a pen. I'd leave her free but they are your flowers and she is a dog."
"What about her . . . excrement?"
"I can bury it or I can flush it. She doesn't roll in it, if that's what you mean."
Marge played with the sheet for a minute. "She doesn't talk?"
"I've never heard her say a word."
"What does she do all day?"
"Lie around, sniff things, drink from her water bowl, lie in the sun or shade, nap, masturbate. She gets pretty bored at the Colonel's."
"Until you come along."
"Most of the time she's just there for a ride, she trots behind the buggy with a huge grin on her face."
But some of the times you are . . ."
"We are." He put his hand on hers. "Outside of you she's the best of anyone I've ever . . ."
"And you love her."
"I can never sit and talk with her like I'm doing now."
"But you love her?"
"I guess you could say so. Not like I love you. I mean it. If I have to choose between the two of you I'd choose you over her."
"I don't believe you." She squeezed his hand. "Get Spot. If there is a problem I'll let you know."
"You'll like her."
She smiled at him. "I know I will. I'll see her, half my age, beautiful, the other woman my husband loves, lying out in the backyard naked. She'll be naked, won't she?"
"Of course I'll like her."
"Give it a chance. Who knows? Maybe you will."
"I don't want to watch you screw her."
"You won't have to see that."
"But you will?"
"I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't."
She let out a breath.
"I'll, we'll own her. She'd be upset if I didn't use her. We didn't use her."
"I could use her?"
He gave a nod.
"That wouldn't upset you?"
"Why should it?"
"I don't know. I find it hard to imagine myself carrying on an affair with my husband's dog."
"That sounds better?"
"Just try to shift your perspective just a bit."
"If I didn't love you."
"I'm sorry it's not easier for you."
"It's not been all bad."
"You have time to write. How is the story going?"
"I'm at a spot where I need to spend some time working things through."
"Are you serious?"
"What do you mean?"
"I'm at a spot . . ."
She grinned. "I finished the first draft yesterday. I'm doing my checks then I'll print it out and drop it into a drawer to hide away for six months or so."
"What did the agent say about the other one?"
"She thinks she can sell it. It's going to take time finding the right house."
"Two more years."
"I'm trying to do my part," she said.
"And if Spot doesn't work out, we'll find another home for her." He kissed her. "Should I turn out the light?"
"Turn out the light." She went under the covers.
He turned out the light and joined her. She snuggled up against him, placed her hand on his chest.
The windows in the bedroom, there were three, let light shine on the bed and their faces. Most of the light was from the moon and stars. A small portion of the light came from the all night light on a telephone pole by the neighbor's garage.
He watched her face, kissed her and touched her cheek.
She smiled at him. There was a sparkle of light on her eye.
They made love slowly for them, took their time this once. Usually they were more efficient, practiced old lovers in their likes and dislikes.
He wanted to show her how different this was, she was, from the others earlier today. She still gave him a thrill no other had ever given him. She thought because she was older and the others were younger they had her beat. Because of the way they looked and how their bodies looked and felt. He wanted to show her she was wrong.
He thrust slowly, felt her body rub his body as he moved. He lifted up from a kiss and enjoyed the feel of her breasts on his chest. He wanted to take her hands and hold them against the headboard but knew he couldn't. He tried to show her in a different way. He thrust slowly.
He wanted to do things to her to show her that her body was special because it was his. He wanted to make her cry out. He thrust slowly.
He kissed her, came in her feeling each pump and spurt and her body around him. Sometimes, when she didn't come like just now, he remained in her until he was hard again. Tonight he rolled off, used his fingers to bring her off, let her know he wanted to do this for her.
He remembered the cunts his fingers had been in today, Penny's, Star's and Sharon's, as individual as their faces. He wondered if some day Marge might not shave hers for him.
He held her for a moment then climbed on. This time he'd be faster, harder. Just on the edge of what she would tolerate, maybe push a little further than that.
They rolled against each other until he came a second time. He was sure she'd come twice more. Not as strongly as the first time. She never did.
They lay together, fell asleep in each other's arms.
Del woke, he always woke in the middle of the night now, and went off to the bathroom. He sat and thought for a bit before retiring to the bed. He'd never thought he would ever be an owner. He'd brutally squashed any fantasies about that. He couldn't afford the misdirection such thoughts created. He had his job to do.
He rejoined Marge in bed, turned onto his side away from her. She already faced away from him. Their two backs touched.
The covers felt nice against his chin. Not like Penny and Star in the stall who only had a blanket to sleep on and each other. But not that different.
To be continued...